Quite often you will hear men complain that there are no “smart girls” in their social circles to date. Even a quick perusal of good ol’ Craigslist, that bastion of high standards, will reveal a desire to have sex with date a “smart” or “intelligent” woman. Educated single women hear/read stuff like this and immediately begin bashing their heads against their desks. Hello, we’re right here, they think as they silently curse eHarmony, match.com, OKCupid, and the universe.
Several years ago I came to the conclusion that what men mean by “smart” and what women mean by “smart” are really two different things. When a man says he wants to date/marry a “smart” or “intelligent” woman, he means:
- A woman who will laugh at his jokes
- A woman who will be impressed by him/his job/his car/etc.
- A woman who is only moderately helpless (i.e., needs his help in many different areas of her life but doesn’t have to use her fingers to calculate 2+2)
- A woman who also meets his minimum standard of attractiveness (because no man who’s surrounded by, say, dumb, homely women is going to complain first that they’re all dumb)
What “smart” or “intelligent” does NOT mean to a man is (not an exhaustive list):
- Has an IQ exceeding 120
- Got good grades in high school or was even class valedictorian
- Got an academic scholarship to college
- Has a graduate-level degree
- Knows times tables through 13×13
- Can easily converse about politics, religion, science, art, music, and popular culture with both breadth and depth
- Is witty
- Doesn’t need a calculator to calculate a tip at a restaurant
- Knows how to change the oil in her car, fix a clogged drain, or hook up the home theater just from reading the manual
- Has an SAT-worthy vocabulary
- Is a brilliant writer
- Reads dozens of non-fiction and/or award-winning books per year
- Keeps getting promoted at work with stellar job reviews
- Kills at Brain Age 2
- Taught herself Latin by reading Harrius Potterus et Philosophi Lapis
This is not to say that a man won’t objectively acknowledge a woman’s brains if she meets criteria from the second list. It’s just that, for all practical intents and purposes, all he really cares about is the first list. Plus, it’s simpler (and sounds better) to say “I want to date/marry a smart woman.”
What does a woman mean by “smart”? She means a keen, quick, analytical mind that can easily and clearly express itself. Advanced verbal skills (especially syntax and vocabulary) are powerful and attractive indicators of intelligence to a woman, especially when paired with wit. Intelligence sans social skills/social intelligence is generally not attractive.